Most restoration projects reach their finale with the classic car given a complete respray to celebrate its relaunch.
There are always those who are determined to preserve the vehicle's authenticity by respraying the car in its original colour, especially if most of its paintwork is reasonable.
No one expects a new colour to sit alongside a paint job that has been around for six years or more without showing. Over the years, the paint will have oxidized and become embedded with road dirt. The sun may even have bleached it. On top of this, the chances of finding newer paint applied to some panels are pretty high.
These good intentions will almost always come at a price, as matching paint colours to the original is no easy task. Failure to accurately match paint colours will lead to a lot of frustration. An expensive restoration can wind up looking like a patchwork quilt.
From the outset, it might seem straightforward to match existing paintwork, and if the correct steps are taken, it should be.
The first step is to identify the exact shade of paint, and as anyone who watches the Movies will tell you, there are at least fifty shades of every colour.
It is vital to find the vehicle identification number (VIN )plate, usually found in the engine bay, to acheive the most accurate results.
Made up of 17 characters (digits and capital letters), the VIN remains with a vehicle forever. It is the key to a lot of information about its genetics- including the paint code.
Accessing the VIN code is an obvious must for any restorer as it holds the key to accurately match existing paint colours.
It doesn't mean that once the code has been discovered, the paint matching hunt is over. In most cases, it has just begun.
The reason why is that paint manufacturers were inclined to update the formulations regularly.
Two batches of the same paint colour may be identical in perfect light. Its differing tints may absorb light in quite different ways, meaning that they won't reflect in the same manner under some lighting conditions.
To overcome this problem, it is always advised to take along a sample of the "original" paint colour, making sure that the sample is not taken from an area that may have been resprayed at some time during the car's long history.
Whenever possible, the best solution to find the correct solution is to take along the entire car.
If the VIN cannot be located for any reason, help may be forthcoming from the ever-willing members of the owner's club relating to the vehicle manufacturers club. Many of these clubs will have established their own archives, detailing which colours on which models were used and when.
Choosing a paintshop that uses a quality mixing equipment will paly a major part in completing a successful paint job.
These companies have the most advanced technology that will allow them to match vehicle paint while employing staff with experienceand desire to use their practised methods to tweak the colour.
These final touches are critical to complete an undetectable paint match and repair.
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All you need to know about restoring and maintaining UK or European cars of the Fifties and Sixties- as well as the history of the great cars of the era and the people that produced them.